Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sunday Morning Vault: Stan Freberg--The Yellow Rose of Texas (1955)

    When many think of music parody over the last 25 or so years, the first person to come to mind is "Weird" Al Yankovic. Since the mid-80's he has lovingly poked at the hits of the day. Some thought him brilliant, others (remember Coolio's first response to "Amish Paradise") not so much. Yankovic acknowledges his greatest influence was Stan Freberg, a guy who did it with a much sharper wit (and sharper tongue as well) than anything done since.
     Freberg, born in Pasadena CA, got his start as a voice character on cartoons during the late 40's, soon began making parody's of the top hits of the day, the first that became a hit was of Johnny Ray's "Cry" in 1952. At first Ray was furious at someone making fun of the song until he realized that it was helping record sales. For the better part of the 50's, he would poke fun at the new medium of television and of rock and roll (which he hated). His most popular song as far as chart action is concerned was "The Yellow Rose of Texas" where he parodied Mitch Miller, in 1955.

For many of us younger, Freberg took his skills of satire to television as an ad man in the 60s, developing some of the most iconic commercials of the era, like this brilliant one with dancer Ann Miller for Campbell's Soup.


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